Friday, 26 July 2013

Facebook is our Hotel California

It was my father's birthday a couple of days ago. Facebook helpfully reminded me, as his smiling face popped up inviting me to wish him a "Happy Birthday" and telling me that he is 72. Actually he's not 72. He died in January this year.

My dad appears from time to time these days as I am browsing Facebook. As does my brother, Jim. When I organised a party recently, using Facebook, Jim appeared so many times with the suggestion that I should invite him that I started to feel guilty for not inviting him. Then I thought I might as well. But I felt sad in the knowledge that he wouldn't accept. Or, what if he did !

It must be my age, but I seem to have more and more of the digitally departed keeping in touch with me on Facebook these days. Old friends who passed away over the last few years but are still with me online. Some of them seem more active on Facebook now that when they were alive.

Facebook has got an interesting challenge here. Sure, there is a process to close down the dearly departed, but its not that easy. And it's quite an emotional thing to do. To finally erase a loved ones digital presence isn't an easy step to take. You get used to them sort of still being part of your online life.

With over a billion users, there must be millions of these free spirits floating around inside the Facebook machine, inviting themselves to parties, telling friends about their birthdays, asking to be tagged. They are with us still.

This is the Brave New Digital World that we live in.

Welcome to the Hotel California. You can log out any time you like. But you can never leave. (with thanks to @RobWhitelock) 


Anonymous said...

Thought provoking: Imagine a digital world where you come home from work and a hologram of a deceased loved one greets you unbidden.... you know, I’m not sure I would want that.

Rob Whitelock.

Emma Jane said...

I love this Tom. Plus that was one of dad's many, MANY songs x